Examining Single Molecules in An Effort to Analyze Subdiffusion in Living Cells

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2014-09-18
Authors
Richards, David
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Houghton College
Abstract
Brownian motion is named after Scottish botanist Robert Brown, who observed the motion of particles in a fluid in the 1820s. In the first years of the 20th century, Einstein developed a random-walk theory about the thermal energy induced motion of a liquid’s particles causing a relatively small number of particles suspended in the liquid to be moved in the process of diffusion, and it was soon accepted that this motion was what Brown had observed. Based on the then-current view of the cell as a membrane containing particles in a fluid, it was expected that molecules within a living cell would move according to Einstein’s theory. However, recent experiments have revealed that the diffusion of molecules within living cells occurs slower than Brownian motion would predict. This is not surprising, given the modern understanding of the cell as a diverse environment filled with many particles and structures. Scientists are currently conducting experiments to see if other mathematical models can describe the motion of such particles accurately.
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